Ukraine has been paying hommage to the millions of its people who died in the Great Famine of the 1930s. The leaders of Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland also attended the ceremony in Kiev.
The annual event always throws a spotlight on the region’s relations with Moscow – especially this year following Russia’s war in Georgia.
Kiev insists the Great Famine was an act of genocide, intentionally provoked by the former Soviet regime under Stalin. It wants the UN to recognise it as such, but Moscow takes a very dim view of the move. It says many ethnic groups suffered at the time, and only last week President Dmitry Medvedev accused Ukraine of distorting history to drive a wedge between the two countries.
Between four and ten million people lost their lives in Ukraine alone during the widespread famine of 1932 to 1933, after the Soviet authorities forcibly requisitioned their crops and livestock, and left peasant farmers to starve.